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Halcyon Incubator welcomes second cohort of social entrepreneurs

The times, they are a changin' over at Halcyon House, the Georgetown incubator program for social entrepreneurs. The first class of seven fellows will pitch their business ideas to a curated group of investors on December 11, and the second class of 10 fellows begins its stay at the house January 12. The new fellows comprise eight ventures which all place helping others at the center of their business models, including a startup helping bring low-cost solar power to neighborhoods, a maker of motion-sickness-canceling headphones and a company bringing affordable toilets to central Africa.

"Every fellow really thrives," says Ryan Ross, program manager for Halcyon Incubator. "They work to support one another. The incubator accelerates their progress." Now that the first four months of the 14-month program are complete, the first class of fellows will no longer live at Halcyon House. They will still work in the incubator's space for the next four months, where they will continue to have access to the pro bono partners Ross calls "central," including representatives from Deloitte, Tandem Legal Group, KPMG and Sage Communications.

The idea of an incubator for social entrepreneurs appears to be taking off. "We had a 30 percent increase in applications [for this round]," Ross says. "There were so many innovative ideas. We were champing at the bit to get them into the program."

The second cohort of ventures is:
  • Librii, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Libraries Across Africa, is building a network of low-cost digital libraries across Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Local Roots, an ag-tech company that produces modular indoor farming equipment
  • Angel's List, a web-based clearinghouse of services and resources for formerly incarcerated individuals to ease their transition back to society
  • Sanivation, a company bringing affordable toilets and in-home sanitation to Central Africa
  • Student Language Exchange, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness of underrepresented languages through peer-to-peer programs in U.S. universities
  • Memunatu Magazine, a classroom magazine for teenage girls in West Africa designed to help close the gender literacy gap
  • Solstice Initiative, a company that partners with neighborhoods to provide low-cost access to solar power
  • An unnamed initiative to create motion sickness canceling headphones using ultrasound waves
  • Ecoviate, the eighth startup, is a holdover from the first class and is a carbon-reduction initiative that involves planting a tree for every product sold.
The application process for the third cohort will begin in March 2015 and close in May.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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